Monday, 24 September, 2018

Eleven countries to sign landmark Trans-Pacific trade pact without US

A steelworker checks the temperature of molten metal in a furnace at the TMK Ipsco Koppel plant in Koppel Pennsylvania A steelworker checks the temperature of molten metal in a furnace at the TMK Ipsco Koppel plant in Koppel Pennsylvania
Melinda Barton | 09 March, 2018, 01:52

The 11 states form a market of 500 million people, greater than that of the European Union's single market.

With the United States, it would have represented 40 per cent, Reuters reported.

Even without the United States, the deal will span a market of almost 500 million people, making it one of the globe's three largest trade agreements, according to Chilean and Canadian trade statistics.

Led by Japan, the remaining members spent a year reworking the deal and ended up suspending 22 out of the over 1,000 provisions.

US President Donald Trump pulled America out of the deal a year ago after describing it as "a continuing rape of our country".

It was signed by Trade Minister David Parker in Chile shortly after 7am (NZT) today.

Dozens of people protested on Wednesday in Chile where the signing of the new Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) will take place in the country's capital.

The revised agreement eliminates some requirements of the original TPP demanded by USA negotiators, including rules to ramp up intellectual property protection of pharmaceuticals.

Heraldo Munoz, Chile's minister of foreign affairs, said the agreement was a strong signal "against protectionist pressures, in favour of a world open to trade, without unilateral sanctions and without the threat of trade wars".

A furnace heats steel at the TMK Ipsco Koppel plant in Koppel Pennsylvania
A furnace heats steel at the TMK Ipsco Koppel plant in Koppel Pennsylvania

The pact will come into force 60 days after it is fully ratified by six of the 11 members.

Minister of International Trade Francois-Philippe Champagne rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, March 2, 2018.

The deal will eliminate 98 per cent of tariffs in a marketplace worth close to $14 trillion.

In January, Trump told the World Economic Forum in Switzerland that it was possible Washington might return to the pact if it got a better deal.

Negotiations of the new trade deal between Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam moved along quickly since the document was first introduced by Chinese President Xi Jinping last November.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said the new pact would have a very limited impact on the national economy in the short term considering the schedule of its implementation and that the ministry will make a decision on whether to join the pact.

"In the absence of CPTPP, we have been losing significant market share in countries where our competitors have preferential access - particularly Australia's beef access into Japan".

"The real worry has to be not only that our government has rolled over on this one", she added, "but that it and the other 10 will roll over to the demands of the Trump administration if they want to re-enter".